Looking for a guitar that combines looks, performance and value? Look no further than the ESP LTD EC256FM. Featuring a stunning flame maple top, lightweight mahogany body and quality hardware, the LTD EC25FM looks and plays like guitars three times the price.
The EC256FM features:
Mahogany body with flame maple top < 8 pounds
Three piece Thin-U mahogany set neck
24.75" scale, 13.77" radius and 1.65" nut width
22 frets with Jatoba fretboard
ESP design LH-150N and LH-150B chrome covered pickups
Volume, Volume and master tone control with coil split
TOM style bridge and tailpiece
Case not included
Made in Indonesia
The LTD EC256FM guitar is a great reminder how far value-priced guitars have come. Why settle for a solid color or ho-hum burst when you can have a flame maple top? Exactly. The EC256 looks way above its price point, and the look and feel of the hardware is very solid with nothing cheesy about it. The mahogany/maple body is thinner than a typical LP guitar and weighs in under 8 pounds. The U-profile neck maintains a slim girth all the way up the neck and with its 13.7" radius feels fast and bends easily. The factory setup was more than the acceptable and the fret work on this bound -- yes, bound neck -- is neat and nicely polished.
The chrome covered ESP-design pickups have a moderate output and tonal profile very similar to a "vintage" style humbucker. The neck pickup has clear treble response with a good amount of attack, and a slightly soft bottom end, typical of a covered humbucker pickup. It handles overdrive quite nicely and depending on your pedal can serve up some great lead tones. It brightened up nicely with our JAM Rattler and produced great crunch chords without any mushiness. The bridge pickup is no powerhouse, but is has an even response, plenty of clarity, and no harshness or metallic brittleness that often afflicts high output pickups. Overdrive tones have generous harmonic content, lots of brightness without being shrill, and a slightly loose feel. Geared more for classic rock than metal, these pickups get the job done and are not something you'll feel the urge to "upgrade" out of the box.
The volume-volume-master tone controls are typical ESP in that the bridge volume control is first, which we think is a perfectly good idea. Being able to tweak the volume controls with both pickups together is a great feature, and frankly we'd never opt for a two-knob humbucker guitar. The tone control has a pull split which splits both pickups at the same time. Coil splitting a humbucker is a mixed bag tone-wise, especially since you can't choose to split just one at a time. It's there as an option, but we're not sure the best tones reside in split mode.
It's hard to find fault with the EC256FM, especially for the price. It looks like a million bucks, is easy on the shoulder and chunks out totally respectable clean and dirty tones. Yes you could swap in nicer tuners, a fancy bridge made of unobtainium, and boutique pots and caps, but the point is you don't need to. For a novice player who wants to get off on the right foot, or an experienced player on a budget who needs a totally solid single cut guitar, we can heartily recommend the LTD EC256B
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